13 September 2022

Judges announced for Dare Academy 2022 final at EGX London

Judges announced for Dare Academy 2022 final at EGX London


Nine games industry professionals have been announced as judges for the Dare Academy 2022 final, which is to be held at the EGX Games Event in London from the 22nd-25th of September.

Many of the judges are Abertay University alumni, who have taken part in Dare and have gone on to excel within industry.

This year’s edition of Dare Academy has seen a shortlist of six teams battle it out for a £5,000 prize: Hawthorn Games, Non Playable Creators, Spicy Space Chickens, Sunserpent Studios, Two Tailed Fox and Yellow Crow Games.

Each team previously exhibited their games at an on-campus industry showcase in July, but now the general public and our judges will get a chance to play the games at the industry-leading EGX Games Event in London.

Alastair Brown

Leading our judging panel this year is Alastair Brown, Senior Designer at Rebellion. Alastair has spent eight years with the company and is now responsible for anything relating to Narrative and Dialogue.

Alastair said: “As a former Dare participant from the 2012 Academy, I am really looking forward to seeing what this year’s teams have created.”

Natalie Clayton

Abertay alum Nat Clayton, Level Designer at Inkle will also be attending EGX to judge this year’s entries. Nat began working industry whilst still studying at Abertay and worked on a number of titles including the console edition of worldwide hit Minecraft.

Nat’s current project at Inkle, A Highland Song, looks to celebrate Scotland’s natural beauty through her own lived experience.

Luke Savage

Luke Savage, Senior Academic Development Manager at Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe is also on the look-out for this year’s top game. Luke manages PlayStation’s academic programme PlayStation first.

He says: “I’ve been a strong supporter of Dare Academy for almost a decade now, and grew up playing Manic Miner and Chuckie Egg, and I can’t wait to see what treasures Dare 2022 has in store.”

Rosie Ball

Rosie Ball, Producer at Chucklefish is another Dare Academy alumni who will be part of this year’s judging panel.

Rosie’s team went on to win the competition in 2011 before winning the BAFTA ones to watch award. Rosie has worked in Industry for 10 years in various roles including Game Designer, Artist and Brand Designer and has worked on titles including Starbound and Wargroove.

In 2018/9 she was named among the 100 Most Influential Women In Games and 100 Rising Stars of the UK Games Industry by gamesindustry.biz and is an active speaker in the educational sector.”

Stuart Brown

Stuart Brown, Senior Software Development Consultant, at Unity, is also a past Dare Academy finalist and is eager to return to the competition and see what the current cohort of students are creating.

Stuart has worked in the industry for over a decade In Jump to News item header group the console space and has worked on titles including Sea of Thieves and Guitar Hero Live.

At Unity Stuart works in the Accelerate Solutions team, where he helps customers ship their games.

Catalina Luca

Catalina Luca also works at Unity, as a Lead Release Quality Manager. Catalina has worked in the games industry for over a decade and has spent the last five years in Unity’s Release Team. She has a passion for mentoring and developing talent and helping people be the best they can professionally.


Andrew J Smith

Andrew J smith, is an alumni of both Abertay University and Dare Academy. He has spent the last 12 years making independent games witth Spilt Milk Studios and is also a published comic book author. Andrew also won a games-themed Bake Off with an 'Ocarina of Key Lime Pie', and is more proud of this than he should be.

Jess Hider

Jess Hider, former Abertay student and Dare Academy contestant, is a Senior Designer at Rare and her current work focuses on reimagining what gaming could be through restorative design. She is currently exploring how we can practice meditation, mindfulness and self-care through video games.

Will Freeman

Our final judge is Will Freeman, Freelance Games Journalist. Will has spent his career writing about the games industry for titles including the Guardian, Edge, Eurogamer and the BBC. He has also been involved in a number of game jams and game industry initiatives.

The judges will get their chance to cast their votes at this year’s edition of EGX London from the 22nd to the 25th of September.

You can follow the progress of the competition on the Dare Academy website.  

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